Well, the launch took place this morning and there was a fantastic turn out. The response was encouraging (not just because we served bacon sandwiches and coffee!), and our recession messages certainly seemed to resonate. Media interest was great, with live radio broadcasting as well as filming for the news this evening. In my speech, I posed the question - 'can we afford culture during a recession?' Certainly, it's difficult in economic terms to measure the impact culture has on a nation. Yes, we can list some key facts and figures, but the truth is, culture has a tremendous role to play in underpinning everything a small nation such as Wales does. In conclusion, therefore, I argued that we can't afford not to have culture as it's a vital part of our identity.
The Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones, also said a few words and congratulated us on an interesting paper that gives a flavour of the excitement we bring through our work across Wales. He stated that our economic message was timely, and agreed that we cannot measure the value of culture in solely economic terms. We were lucky to have his presence and support, and the interviews he gave certainly reflected his respect for our work.
Over the coming weeks, we will be developing many of the themes raised in the paper and pursuing opportunities to develop our volunteering and apprenticeship schemes. We need to keep the momentum going, and remind everyone in Wales how integral culture is to the nation. And how important it is to continue to fund it! I'll update you on our progress on this blog.